Southeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

2 - The Invention of ‘Japanese Food’ in Contemporary Indonesia

Friday, July 6
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Silveroak II, Ground Floor

Japanese culture is everywhere in the urban area of Indonesia. The millennial generation, born in the late 1980s and after, were brought up watching Japanese anime on TV and got quite familiar with Japanese pop culture. They are indeed the consumers of ‘Japanese cultural products’, including Japanese food.

Consuming ‘Japanese culture’, including Japanese food, has become fashionable here since the early 2000s, partly caused by the Cool Japan strategy implemented by the Japanese government. Statistical data shows that Japanese restaurants in Indonesia increased significantly during the recent years. Aside from those catering the social elites, both Indonesians and Japanese, there are also small ‘Japanese restaurants’ located at downtown and at areas far from the metropolitan, where there are neither Japanese residents nor Indonesians familiar with Japanese culture (i.e.: students learning Japanese language, or people doing business with Japanese people or employees of Japanese companies).

One might wonder just how could those restaurants’ owners or chefs come to know about and prepare Japanese food? The answer, quite surprisingly, is that the owners or chefs are simply not familiar with Japanese culture, and they have no idea on ‘how to prepare Japanese dishes’. That is not important. Their main concern is to create the ‘image’ of Japanese food, and then, invent some food that suits that ‘image’ as well as the taste of ordinary consumers here.


Hayun Nurdiniyah

Universitas Darma Persada, Indonesia


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2 - The Invention of ‘Japanese Food’ in Contemporary Indonesia

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